Thrunite Catapult Mini Flashlight Review

Thrunite Catapult Mini Flashlight Review

Just hitting the market is the Thrunite Catapult Mini, an Osram Flat White tiny thrower!  I have historically loved this format, but let’s see how this one tests!


Thrunite Catapult Mini Official Specs and Features

Here’s a link to the Thrunite Catapult Mini product page.

Versions

There are two versions of the Thrunite Catapult Mini available, but they differ only in body color.  There’s black, and there’s “Metal Grey” (seen here).  The emitter is the same – Osram Flat White (cool white) for both.

Price

The Metal Grey is selling for $40.45 for a little while, but the black (and MSRP) price is $49.95.  They’re available on Amazon too, and there’s a 20% coupon!  That puts the light right under $40, which is a great deal!


Short Review

I love this as much as I thought I would.  This doesn’t differ from my Manker MC13 (which I love) all that much, but it’s smaller, has a side e-switch, and arguably has a better user interface.  And the metal grey is great!  For $40ish, it’s a great purchase.

Long Review

The Big Table

Thrunite Catapult Mini
Emitter: Osram KW.CSLNM1.TG (Cool White)
Price in USD at publication time: Around $40 on Amazon after 20% discount (click the checkbox on Amazon for that)
Cell: 1×18350
Turbo Runtime Graph High Runtime Graph
LVP? Switch warning
Switch Type: E-Switch
Quiescent Current (mA): 0.01
On-Board Charging? Yes
Charge Port Type: USB-C
Charge Graph
Power off Charge Port with cell: all modes

without cell: lowest 3 modes

Claimed Lumens (lm) 680
Measured Lumens (at 30s) 538 (79.1% of claim)^
Candela per Lumen 203.3
Claimed Throw (m) 598
Candela (Calculated) in cd (at 30s) 3780lux @ 5.53m = 115596cd
Throw (Calculated) (m) 680.0 (113.7% of claim)^
All my Thrunite reviews!

^ Measurement disclaimer:  I am an amateur flashlight reviewer.  I don’t have $10,000 or even $1,000 worth of testing equipment.  I test output and such in PVC tubes!!  Please consider claims within 10% of what I measure to be perfectly reasonable (accurate, even).

What’s Included with the Thrunite Catapult Mini

Thrunite Catapult Mini what's included

  • Thrunite Catapult Mini Flashlight
  • Thrunite 1100mAh 18350
  • Charging cable (USB to USB-C)
  • Lanyard
  • Spare o-rings (2)
  • Spare charge port cover
  • Manual and papers

Package and Manual

Thrunite Catapult Mini box

Thrunite Catapult Mini manual

Build Quality and Disassembly

feature photo

I quite enjoy flashlights that aren’t the “standard black” and this is no exception.  The “metal grey” color is definitely grey, and an anodizing color I haven’t seen much (if ever!).  It’s not quite a Zebralight color and is also shinier.

The build quality here is very good, which you should already expect from Thrunite.  So no surprises at all there.

There’s fairly minimal branding – I think this is silk-screened and feels like just a bit of an afterthought.

Thrunite Catapult Mini branding

Thrunite Catapult Mini serial

The head has minimal depth cooling fins, which aid in grip.

cooling fins

You can see that the tailcap doesn’t have much going on – no branding, completely smooth.  The edges on this light are much more rounded than you usually see on a flashlight, too.

smoothy tail cap

Only the cell tube comes off the light – it’s really just a two-part flashlight.  The threads are short and anodized.

threads

Inside the body you can see a nice beefy spring on the tail end, and just a brass button for contact in the head.

internal contact points

Below you’ll see why this detail is important, but there’s just one contact point at this brass button.  Negative travels through the cell tube and to the outer rim.

brass button in head

Sometimes I end up with a random photo that I am not sure where goes or what I took for… here is one such photo.  Drink in the diminutive nature of this tiny little thrower.

tailstanding

Unscrewing the bezel is easy – there is no thread lock.  Thus the emitter is accessible, too.

bezel removed optic out

Size and Comps

Dimensions: 80.98mm x 40.4mm x 26mm

Weight: 87.5g (without cell)

If the flashlight will headstand, I’ll show it here (usually the third photo).  If the flashlight will tailstand, I’ll show that here, too (usually the fourth photo).

Thrunite Catapult Mini in-hand

Here’s the test light with the venerable Convoy S2+.  Mine’s a custom “baked” edition Nichia 219b triple.  A very nice 18650 light.

And here’s the light beside my custom engraved TorchLAB BOSS 35, an 18350 light.  I reviewed the aluminum version of that light in both 35 and 70 formats.

beside torchlab boss 35

I happen to have a couple of other items I thought were worth comparing to the Thrunite Catapult Mini flashlight.  First is Thrunite T1.  Very similar to the “BLF Muscle Combo” made by Manker, is this flat white thrower and tiny “wall of light” output 18350 flashlight.  Unlike that combo, these two don’t have interchangeable parts, nor does Thrunite offer a 18650 cell tube for the set.

And here’s the Thrunite Catapult Mini beside the thrower from the Muscle Combo, the Manker MC13.  The Thrunite Catapult Mini is quite a bit smaller!

Retention and Carry

Really the only option for carrying the Thrunite Catapult Mini is the included lanyard, which attaches through this hole in the tailcap.

It’s a fairly standard lanyard, but gets the job done.

lanyard installed

There is no pocket clip.  There is no magnet.  There is no pouch.  You probably wouldn’t really want those things, but for example, the Manker MC13 has a pocket clip, and I didn’t complain that it did have a pocket clip.

Power and Runtime

The Thrunite Catapult Mini is powered by a single lithium-ion cell.  One is provided, seen below.  It’s a 1100mAh 18350, with a proprietary connection on the positive end.  This connection has both positive and negative terminals.  See below but read now: there’s actually no reason for these proprietary connections!

included 18350

And below is a better view of the positive (center) and negative (surrounding positive) terminals on the proprietary, along with the standard negative on the end opposite positive.

included 18350

Despite all this customization or proprietary connection setup on the included 18350 cell, it’s not actually necessary.  I tested the light with a standard unprotected flat-top 18350, and the light works just like it should.

included 18350

The cell fits with the positive end toward the head (which is the normal configuration).

included 18350 installed included 18350 installed

Below are a few runtimes; the highest three modes.

On bench power, the switch indicated an orange-ish color around 3.3V.  Then red at 3.1V, and then finally the light shut off at 2.7V.  This is acceptable low voltage protection.

Charging

Also built into the Thrunite Catapult Mini is USB-C charging.  The port is in the head (opposite the switch) and has a press-in rubber cover (there is a spare).  This is a high-quality port – something I don’t say all that often because it’s not always so evident.  The port lines up perfectly with the opening.

There’s also a cable included for charging – USB to USB-C.

The charge cycle is very consistent, which is good.  At 0.7A or so, it’s not “fast” charging but is charging at over 0.5C, so it’s “plenty fine.”

Note that in both of my tests, the cell terminated at 4.25V – that’s high.  Possibly not “unsafely high” but there’s definitely no reason to go that high, and it should absolutely be avoided.

Finally, C to C charging does work, at 5V.

Modes and Currents

Mode Mode Claimed Output (lm) Claimed Runtime Measured Lumens Tailcap Amps
Turbo 680 70m 538 2.83
High 235 80m 186 0.59
Medium 96 4h 88 0.25
Low 21 12h 33 0.10
Firefly 0.5 106h 0.3 9.3mA

Pulse Width Modulation

There’s no PWM on any mode.

For reference, here’s a baseline shot, with all the room lights off and almost nothing hitting the sensor.  Also, here’s the light with the worst PWM I could find.  I’m adding multiple timescales, so it’ll be easier to compare to the test light.  Unfortunately, the PWM on this light is so bad that it doesn’t even work with my normal scale, with is 50 microseconds (50us).  10ms5ms2ms1ms0.5ms0.2ms.  In a display faster than 0.2ms or so, the on/off cycle is more than one screen, so it’d just (very incorrectly) look like a flat line.  I wrote more about this Ultrafire WF-602C flashlight and explained a little about PWM too.

User Interface and Operation

Thrunite put a single switch in the Catapult Mini.  It’s an indicating e-switch on the head, and just slightly proud.  The cover is hard (but probably plastic, not metal) – still a great switch.  It’s easy to differentiate between the switch and the charge port cover.

Here’s a UI table!

State Action Result
Off Click On (Mode Memory except for Firefly, Turbo, Strobe)
Off Hold 1s Firefly
Off Click 4x Lockout (the main emitter blinks 3x to confirm)
Lockout Click (1, 2, 3) No Output (switch indicates in blue (or possibly battery status))
Lockout Click 4x Firefly
On Click Off
On (including Firefly) Hold Mode advance (LMH only)
Any Double Click Turbo
Any Triple Click Strobe

This user interface is slightly updated from previous generation Thrunites, and I think it’s better.  You’re no longer locked into firefly and can cycle forward from there (big upgrade).  I think that’s the main difference.

LED and Beam

In the Thrunite Catapult Mini is an Osram KW.CSLNM1.TG emitter, and of course fantastic for throw.

 Thrunite Catapult Mini TIR

That throw is accentuated by this TIR.

As stated above, the bezel unscrews easily, revealing the Osram emitter.  Swapping that emitter should be easy.

Thrunite Catapult Mini emitter exposed TIR profile

Thrunite covers the TIR (which can be scratch-prone) with an AR-coated lens.

ar coated lens close beam profile

Below you can see the tight hotspot – there’s some spill present, but really, this is a throwy little light.

beam in use

Looks good, too!

low output

Just look at these two photos as a metric of difference in “spill” (where the camera is situated in the photo above) and “throw” (where the camera is situated in the photo below).

thrower output

These beamshots are always with the following settings:  f8, ISO100, 0.3s shutter, and manual 5000K exposure.

Tint vs BLF-348 (KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b version) (affiliate link)

I keep the test flashlight on the left, and the BLF-348 reference flashlight on the right.

I compare everything to the KillzoneFlashlights.com 219b BLF-348 because it’s inexpensive and has the best tint!

Conclusion

What I like

  • Great thrower
  • Excellent build quality
  • Complete package includes capable 18350 cell
  • USB-C Charging
  • Another good use of the “standard” Thrunite user interface

What I don’t like

  • Charging is slow (but conservative speed leads to better cell life.)
  • No 18650 tube available (yet?)
  • No pocket clip
  • Overcharges cell (to 4.25V)

Notes

  • This light was provided by Thrunite for review. I was not paid to write this review.
  • This content originally appeared at zeroair.org.  Please visit there for the best experience!
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3 thoughts on “Thrunite Catapult Mini Flashlight Review”

  1. I don’t have any throwers, they’re usually bigger than I’d want to lug around. You talked me into this one!
    Got it today, used it enough to run down the battery and plugged in the USB-C cable for a while. The button turned blue eventually.
    My cell came out at 4.19 so maybe there’s some variation.

    Anyway, thanks for the great review and good deal!

  2. First use after charging it seems the USB cover popped off, couldn’t find it! Fortunately they included a spare.

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